SC fines suspended lawyer for indirect contempt

MANILA A lawyer cannot escape liability for ignoring his suspension by the Supreme Court (SC) by claiming good faith.

This, as the high court found Atty. Christopher A. Basilio guilty of indirect contempt and ordered him to pay a PHP10,000 fine for continuing to practice law despite having received his suspension order, assuming that the suspension was put off while his motion for reconsideration was pending.

The SC also issued a stern warning to Basilio that a repetition of similar infractions will be dealt with more severely.

The lifting of his order of suspension from the practice of law was likewise held in abeyance pending his payment of the fine and presentation of proof.

Basilio, who is based in Tarlac City, had been originally suspended by the court in 2015 for anomalies in a notarized document purportedly subscribed and sworn to before him by Loreto M. TaAedo and Ramon T. Lim in his notarial register, despite the fact that TaAedo had already passed away, years earlier.

He admitted having notarized the Joint Affidavit but claimed that, prior to the notarization, he verified the identities of the persons who appeared before him through their respective Social Security System (SSS) identification cards and driver's licenses. He further denied any knowledge that the one who appeared before him misrepresented himself as TaAedo and that the latter was already dead as of December 1, 2003.

During the clarificatory hearing, Basilio, admitted his failure to record the subject document in his notarial book; submit a copy of the same to the Regional Trial Court of Tarlac City (RTC); and have the notarization revoked or recalled.

Source: Philippine News Agency